A.J. Booker named national semifinalist for Campbell Trophy by NFF

A.J. Booker named national semifinalist for Campbell Trophy by NFF
Thursday, September 25, 2014 | by Josh Manck, Assistant AD for Athletic Communications

IRVING, Texas - Newberry College senior outside linebacker A.J. Booker has been named a national semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy presented by Fidelity Investments®, as announced by the National Football Foundation on Thursday.

Booker - a native of Spartanburg and graduate of Dorman HS - has distinguished himself on the field, in the classroom and in the community throughout his career.

He currently leads the South Atlantic Conference in interceptions, and was named the SAC AstroTurf Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the game against Limestone. In this season's first three games, he has eight tackles, two interceptions and a solo sack.

In his career, Booker has 67 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, a fumble forced and a team-best four interceptions in 32 games.

Booker has excelled in his academic pursuits as well, currently holding a 3.66 grade point average in Newberry's nursing program, with a minor in biology. He intends to go into the pediatric nursing field following his graduation from Newberry.

He is a two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, and is eligible for that honor once again this season. He has been on the Dean's List for every semester he has been enrolled at Newberry, was a resident advisor and is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Booker has also served the football team as a captain this season and was recently inducted into the Order of the Gray Stripe - the football team's honor council.

"A.J. is a true student-athlete," said Newberry head football coach Todd Knight. "He is an outstanding leader, takes on a grueling schedule and is a great father on top of all of that. I'm proud we could nominate A.J. for such a prestigious award."

Booker is one of three student-athletes from a South Carolina school on the list, joining South Carolina's Damiere Byrd and Charleston Southern's Christian Reyes. Booker is also one of four South Atlantic Conference honorees along with Brevard's Andre Overholt, Carson-Newman's William Alderman and Wingate's Will Poteat.

Only 25 Division II players made the list of 167 national semifinalists. Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates for the awards must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The class is selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee, which is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.

The NFF Awards Committee will select up to 16 recipients, and the results will be announced via a national press release on Thursday, Oct. 30. Each recipient will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and they will vie as finalists for the 2014 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by Fidelity Investments and hosted at the NYAC, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014. Each member of the 2014 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Class will also travel to New York City to be honored Dec. 9 during the 57th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria where their accomplishments will be highlighted in front of one of the most powerful audiences in all of sports. One member of the class will also be announced live at the event as the winner of the Campbell Trophy.